I have been Interim CEO at Murray County Medical Center for six months and am impressed with this medical center and community. Although I went to school at The University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, I had never heard the phrase “Minnesota Nice” until I came here. At first, I thought the phrase was great, but I quickly realized that there was substance behind it.
“Minnesota Nice” is Real Here
“Minnesota Nice” has come through in droves to me as I have gotten acquainted to this wonderful community and staff here. I had a lot of help finding a place to live and figuring out where to go for everyday services and the importance of keeping things local. Whether I’m eating out at The Plaid Moose or Van Bully’s or getting my car serviced at Gary’s, I’ve been very happy with the services I’ve received. And last week, I even had my physical exam with Dr. Klingler who is a much better physician than my doctor in St. Louis! These are just a few positive examples of a trust and comfort I have with local businesses in this area.
Rural Healthcare Challenges
So, supporting local businesses is not only necessary for small communities to thrive, it’s mandatory. And rural healthcare is no exception. Several Sundays ago, the Minneapolis Star Tribune published an article entitled, “Minnesota’s rural hospitals are hanging on – for now.” That article uses several rural Minnesota hospitals as examples to describe the pressures on rural hospitals to survive. I believe the article portrays an accurate picture of the challenges that we face at MCMC as well.
We aren’t the only local hospital facing significant financial challenges. If you know this healthcare market, you know that the hospitals in Tyler, Tracy, Westbrook and Worthington are also facing financial challenges. They also are owned by health systems in Sioux Falls that can provide financial support during tough times. But ownership or management by a big city health system is no guarantee of continued hospital services in rural communities. Just look at the recent hospital bed and service reductions in Springfield, MN which is operated by Mayo.
Murray County Medical Center is an independent, county-owned hospital and clinic. We receive no financial support from the county or from Sanford Health, which manages MCMC. Our financial health is completely dependent on our receipts from Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Cross, and other insurance companies.
“Big City” Trend & Patient Volume Impact
Recently, I received a request from a concerned citizen to verify statistics back to 2011. The volumes of various inpatient and outpatient activity showed a consistent, negative trend during that time period. Those statistics have continued their negative trend in the first four months of 2019.
I was shocked to see market trends that show Murray County residents increasing their travel to the “Big City” for healthcare. While there are a few things that we cannot do here, many of the services available in the “Big City” are also available right here at MCMC.
At the end of the day, only patient volume at this hospital and clinic will turn around Murray County Medical Center’s financial fortunes.
Some of our Blessings at MCMC
Let’s take a minute to count some of the healthcare blessings we have right here at MCMC:
- Since the first of the year, we added a pediatrician, Dr. Atul Mishra, and an internist, Dr. Steven Snow.
- MCMC has beautiful, hotel-like patient rooms (come take a tour at the community BBQ on Wednesday evening, June 12)
- Did you know that our cooks serve “comfort food,” not “hospital food”?
- Did you know we are “High Tech”? I was shocked to see that we have in-house equipment like CT, MRI, Ultrasound, 3D Mammography.
- Although less visible than Radiology, our Laboratory is also extremely well-equipped.
- We do procedures at MCMC that a lot of people are unaware of like:
Most importantly, patients who use MCMC trust the gentle care they know they will receive from their friends and neighbors who work here. A patient’s daughter recently told us that we have a gem here in Slayton and she’s absolutely right. The “Big City” can’t touch what we’ve got: high quality staff and equipment at an outstanding hospital. It’s your choice. To sustain this hospital financially, you will have to support it by walking through its doors.